A Classic Gruner Veltliner With an African Connection – Tasting the Weingut Jungmayr Dzimbahwe Gruner Veltliner Classic 2021 from Pardon Taguzu…

We all loved the incredible heart-warming movie Blind Ambition, an emotional fly on the wall documentary following four Zimbabwean refugees who were forced to flee their homeland in search of a better life in South Africa only to become some of the best and most well know sommeliers in the country. Well, of course the four of them went on to compete in the World Wine Blind Tasting Championships – the Olympics of the wine world so to speak – representing Zimbabwe among some of the world’s most talented wine professionals. A wonderful movie, which if you have not seen it yet, you are definitely missing out! (It will touch you deeply even if you are not an obsessive wino!)

The movie was released in 2021 and two years later it is satisfying to see Tongai Joseph Dhafana selling his successful Mosi Wine brand both in and outside of South Africa, Tinashe Nyamudoka travelling around the world promoting his Kumusha Wines brand, and then of course thrilling to finally taste the Austrian wines inspired by Pardon Taguzu, who now lives with his family in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, a country I know and love dearly, working as a successful wine importer and sommelier director at Swirl and Sip Fine Wines.

Pardon Taguzu looking very sommelier-like…

Pardon Taguzu very kindly offered to send me a selection of his Dzimbahwe wine range, and this is the first of several reviews of the wines. But seeing as they are Austrian, I thought I would start with the wine made from the country’s most famous grape variety, Gruner Veltliner.

Weingut Jungmayr Dzimbahwe Gruner Veltliner Classic 2021, Qualitatswein aus Austria, 12% Abv.

This Classic Gruner is a pale crystalline yellow with a lime green glimmer. On the nose the wine is elegantly fresh and pure with delicate notes of white blossom, aromatic flinty spice, white peach rock candy and subtle green apple pastille nuances. The palate is both elegant and gentle with a mouth coating dry pithy fruit extract of peach stones, nectarine, white pear and dusty lemon bon bons, all held in beautiful symmetry by tangy fresh acids and a soft, subtle salinity. This is a deliciously dry and expressive example of one of Europe’s great classical white wine grapes – Gruner Veltliner. A really lovely wine that will hit the spot whether you are doing serious food and wine matching or just kicking back with an aperitif. Drink now and over the next 3 to 5+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Navigating Off-Piste in Austria ~ Weingut Karl Schnabel Morillon 2014, Steirerland… 

Weingut Schnabel is a new one for me. A wine estate located in southern Styria on Sausal, a mountainous “island terroir” consisting of primary rock, free of limestone, resulting in especially mineral wines. 

Made from 100% Morillon, the local name for Chardonnay, from vines grown at 550 meters, this wine was fermented in open vats with indigenous yeasts for ten days, prior to ageing for one year in used Burgundy barrels.  No fining or filtration was employed and also zero sulphur was added during the vinification process. Coming in at a fresh 11.5 Abv, this biodynamic certified wine represents an intriguing, complex glassful of natural, minimalist wine making.

Tasting Note: The colour of honey and dried apricots, this is a more funky version of Chardonnay and a total style departure from anything found in Burgundy. The nose is loaded with white pepper, orange citrus, hints of dried herbs, oregano, thyme, and herbal infused vermouth. Palate is cool, fresh but elegantly textured with a pithy bite of grape skins, almond and hazelnuts bitterness, dried yellow stone fruits and a long, pithy, energetic finish laced with dried peaches and wild herb garrigue spice. This is a lovely food orientated wine with a real authenticity and eccentric character. Very unique but perhaps not for novices. 

(Wine Safari Score: 91/100 Greg Sherwood MW)